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Farmington Shelter Operator Arrested After Dozens Of Animals Found Dead

FARMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – A Farmington woman was arrested this week on suspicion of animal cruelty after a search warrant revealed about 100 animals, mostly cats, in the home.

The home is registered as a non-profit animal rescue. Police arrested 25-year-old Caycee Bregel, and she faces possible animal cruelty charges.

Caycee Bregel Farmington Animal Cruelty
(credit: Dakota County Sheriff's Office)

WCCO's Christiane Cordero spoke with a neighbor, who says she saw the animals' living conditions first-hand.

Lisa Mason lives just down the street from where police rescued more than 100 animals. She told us as a veterinary technician by day, she was upset. And as a neighbor, she had to help.

She says she, alongside officials, started cleaning up Wednesday night, having no idea what was on the other side.

"That to me would be hell on Earth if I was an animal or a person," Mason said.

Farmington Animal Cruelty
(credit: CBS)

Forty live animals and about 60 dead ones, according to the Animal Humane Society, which is helping with the Dakota County Sheriff's Office investigation.

Most of the pets were cats, plus five dogs, one rabbit, a hamster and a pig named Wilbur.

"I mean there's feces, urine, just garbage you guys, strewing everywhere. You couldn't even get in the rooms. There's cats in the bedrooms with the doors closed," Mason said.

Caycee Bregel rented the property. She and the address are both licensed under "Minnesota Foster Cats and Kittens," a nonprofit animal rescue.

The home's owner told officials he last visited the property in November, and everything seemed normal. No one seems to know what happened since.

"I see a lot of these cases, some are worse than others, but no there's certainly some sort of a complex," Keith Streff with the Animal Humane Society said.

Bregel is also listed as a Farmington gym owner with her partner, Samantha. Police have unsuccessfully tried contacting Samantha.

In a Facebook post, Samantha said, "I have not had anything to do with those two businesses for quite some time, and I have not lived in Farmington since the end of November."

We did try contacting Bregel directly through the information she has registered with the state, but have not yet heard back. Officials did say she did cooperate with the arrest and with the investigation so far.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Friday afternoon that Bregel would not be charged at this time. She was released from custody.

The Humane Society has taken custody of the animals found still alive on the property.

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